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Thursday, October 17, 2019


The Battlefields is a region of much significance in the history and heritage of KwaZulu-Natal and boasts the largest concentration of significant battles and war related sites in South Africa. It is where Zulus, Voortrekkers and British clashed in some of the bloodiest battles in the history of South Africa, shaping the towns and villages of this region. The wars were fought over land and sovereignty and played out over almost 100 years.


Today people travel from around the world to revisit the areas where these momentous events in our history took place. Besides taking an organized tour, there are several self-drive routes established to enable you to visit these historic towns and sites.  Knowledgeable, friendly and accredited local guides are available and guarantee hour upon hour of captivating company. The King Shaka’s Way Route takes visitors from the coastal region of Stanger, through Eshowe, Melmoth and on to Ulundi and offers world-class game reserves, heritage sites and Zulu culture and tradition. The Remembrance Route begins from Pietermaritzburg through Greytown, Tugela Ferry, and Dundee and onto the Ithala Game Reserve and is an area incredibly rich in Zulu culture. The Rifleman’s Road Route starts from Volkrust in the northwest, down through Newcastle, Dundee, Ladysmith, Colenso and Estcourt. Visitors will encounter fabulous scenery, generous hospitality, and tales of great courage and endurance.

From Ulundi through to Vryheid, on to Paulpietersburg and Ithala Game Reserve the Warrior’s Trek Route offers stunning scenery, warm mineral fountains, battlefields, game viewing and culture galore – visit the Ncome Museum, dedicated to fallen Zulu warriors and to Zulu culture. The Siege Salute Route has a high concentration of historical sites encompassing Anglo-Boer War and several Voortrekker- Zulu War sites. Major towns along the route are Ladysmith, Colenso, Estcourt and Winterton – don’t miss the memorial to the Battle of Spionkop. This route is abundant with beautiful landscapes, wildlife, birdlife and adventures. Dundee is the centre of the Red Soldiers Route, and the impressive Talana Museum, set in a 20-acre heritage park, on the outskirts of the town depicts the varied history of the region. Battle sites on this route include the Isandlwana, Rorkes Drift and Fugitives drift.

At the Carnegie Art Gallery in Newcastle contemporary South African art works can be viewed and a well-stocked shop with local craftwork and the unique Isiphethu fabric art is available. The townships of Madadeni, Osizweni and Blaauwbosch provide a unique cultural experience and historic sites connected to Nelson Mandela, Chief Albert Luthuli and other local heroes. Ladysmith is famous for another group of local heroes, the male choral group, Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Formed in the early 1960s and singing in the local style of isicathamiya and mbube, the group went on to sing with Paul Simon and many other international musicians and won their first Grammy in 1988 and have been awarded three more since.


what to do in the battlefields

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did you know

Ladysmith Black Mambazo travelled with Nelson Mandela, the future South African president, at his request, when he went to Oslo, Norway to receive the Nobel Peace Prize and one year later they were singing at the inauguration of the newly elected President. After many more special appearances with the South African icon, Mandela proclaimed the group South Africa’s Cultural Ambassadors to the World.